Here's what to know about Tupac Shakur murder as man charged

Duane 'Keefe D' Davis indicted 27 years after rapper shot dead in Las Vegas

Tupac Shakur was murdered during a drive-by shooting in 1996. AP
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An arrest has been made in connection with Tupac Shakur's killing, the latest twist in one of the biggest unsolved cases in hip-hop history.

Duane “Keefe D” Davis was arrested on suspicion of murder on Friday and has been indicted in Las Vegas.

The case returned to the spotlight in July when Nevada authorities served a search warrant in connection with the rapper's shooting death.

Here’s what to know about one of the most infamous fatal shootings in hip-hop.

What's new in the investigation?

Authorities on Friday arrested Davis, whose name has long been linked with Shakur's death. He is the relative of a man who emerged as a suspect shortly after the rapper’s killing.

Shakur was gunned down while riding in a car on the Las Vegas strip on September 7, 1996.

In July, authorities executed a warrant in the nearby city of Henderson at Davis's house. He's the uncle of Orlando Anderson, one of Shakur’s known rivals who authorities long suspected shot the rapper. Anderson denied involvement in Shakur’s killing at the time, and died two years later in an unrelated gang shooting in Compton, California.

Details from the warrant show detectives collected multiple computers, a cellular telephone, "documentary documents", a Vibe magazine that featured Shakur, several .40-caliber bullets, two "tubs containing photographs" and a copy of Davis's 2019 memoir Compton Street Legend.

What happened the night Shakur was shot?

The 25-year-old rapper was travelling in a black BMW driven by Death Row Records founder Marion "Suge" Knight in a convoy of about 10 cars, apparently headed to a nightclub, after watching Mike Tyson knock out Bruce Seldon in a championship fight at the MGM Grand.

After the bout, Shakur, Knight and associates were involved in a fight at the hotel.

While driving down the Las Vegas strip, a white Cadillac with four men inside pulled alongside the BMW while it was stopped at a red light. One person opened fire, riddling the passenger side of Knight’s car with bullets, police said. Sitting in the passenger seat, Shakur was shot four times, at least twice in the chest. Knight was grazed by a bullet fragment or shrapnel from the car.

Shakur was rushed to a hospital, where he died six days later.

What is Tupac's legacy?

Shakur is one of the most prolific figures in hip-hop, also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli. His professional music career only lasted five years, but he sold more than 75 million records worldwide, including the diamond-certified album All Eyez on Me, which was packed with hits including California Love (Remix), I Ain’t Mad at Cha and How Do U Want It.

Shakur had five No 1 albums including Me Against the World in 1995 and All Eyez on Me in 1996, along with three posthumous releases: 1996's The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, 2001's Until the End of Time and 2004's Loyal to the Game."

The six-time Grammy-nominated artist was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Snoop Dogg in 2017.

As a rising actor, Shakur starred in several films such as John Singleton's Poetic Justice with Janet Jackson and Ernest Dickerson's Juice. He also played major roles in Gang Related and Above the Rim.

In April, a five-part FX docuseries called Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur delved into the past of the rapper's mother, Afeni Shakur, as a female leader in the Black Panther Party, while exploring Tupac's journey as a political visionary and becoming one of the greatest rap artists of all time.

Earlier this year, Shakur received a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“He defied the distinction between art and activism,” said radio personality Big Boy at the ceremony.

Shakur has been remembered with museum exhibitions, including Tupac Shakur. Wake Me When I'm Free in 2021 and All Eyez on Me at the Grammy Museum in 2015. Oakland officials have said a stretch of an Oakland street will be renamed after him.

What about his biggest rivalry?

Shakur's death came amid his feud with rap rival the Notorious BIG, who was fatally shot six months later. At the time, both rappers were in the middle of the infamous east coast-west coast rivalry, which primarily defined the hip-hop scene during the mid-1990s.

The feud was ignited after Shakur was seriously wounded in another shooting during a robbery in the lobby of a Midtown Manhattan hotel in 1994. He was shot several times and lost $40,000.

Shakur openly accused BIG and Sean “Diddy” Combs of having prior knowledge of the shooting; they both vehemently denied it. The shooting sparked enough of a feud that created a serious divide between the hip-hop community and fans.

The New York-born Shakur represented the west coast after he signed with the Los Angeles-based Death Row Records. He often traded verbal jabs with New York natives BIG and Combs, who hailed from the east coast while representing New York City-based Bad Boy Records.

Diss tracks were delivered to drive home their ferocious points across. Shakur released the aggressive single Hit ’Em Up, which took aim at BIG, who on the other hand returned with Who Shot Ya?, a record that was received as a taunt. However, BIG claimed the song was not directed toward Shakur.

More on Shakur's life and career

Shakur was born June 16, 1971, in New York City. He later moved to Baltimore and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts, where he began writing raps. He eventually made his way to Marin City, California, near San Francisco, and continued to write and record.

As a member of the Grammy-nominated group Digital Underground, Shakur appeared on the 1991 track Same Song from This Is an EP Release and on the album Sons of the P.

That same year, Shakur achieved individual recognition with the album 2Pacalypse Now, which spawned the successful singles Trapped and Brenda’s Got a Baby.

The album, with references to police officers being killed, drew notoriety when a lawyer claimed a man accused of killing a Texas trooper had been riled up by the record. Then-vice president Dan Quayle targeted 2Pacalypse Now in his 1992 battle with Hollywood over traditional values.

In 1993, Shakur followed up with the sophomore album, which produced songs I Get Around, Keep Ya Head Up and Papa’z Song, and he was nominated for an American Music Award.

The following year he appeared with hip-hop group Thug Life on the Above The Rim soundtrack and on the group’s album Volume 1.

He was convicted of sexually abusing a fan in 1994 and served several months in a New York prison.

While incarcerated, Shakur indicated he was rethinking his lifestyle. He had support from black leaders including the Rev Jesse Jackson and the Rev Al Sharpton, who counseled him while he was locked up.

“Thug life to me is dead. If it’s real, let somebody else represent it, because I’m tired of it,″ Shakur told Vibe magazine. ”I represented it too much. I was thug life."

Shakur was upfront about his troubled life in the 1995 release Me Against The World, a multimillion-selling album that contained the ominously titled tracks If I Die 2Nite and Death Around The Corner.

“It ain’t easy being me. ... Will I see the penitentiary, or will I stay free?″ Shakur rapped on the album, which produced the Grammy-nominated Dear Mama and standout singles So Many Tears and Temptations.

The Las Vegas shooting occurred as Shakur’s fourth solo album, All Eyez on Me, remained on the charts with some five million copies sold.

Updated: September 30, 2023, 11:10 AM